Aliens in the Barn

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

NEW RELEASE: Cassie's Troubles by Liza O'Connor @Liza0Connor #amreading


The SkyRyders are no longer the best-skilled fliers in the sky, and MAC is determined to rectify the situation by breeding better fliers. However, the introduction of an exceptional flier into the project brings an underlying cancer to light. Convinced the Corp removed a maneuver so a female could pass the flight exam, the male cadets in the Academy revolt. Sensing chaos and mutiny at the Fort, the enemy cartel gathers a force to annihilate the entire West Coast forces.



Cassie called the number on the card. The man who answered invited her to come for an immediate interview. When she arrived, the recruiting officer was both respectful and enthusiastic about her possible careers within the Corp. Because rank was decided by MAC, the non-biased computer that ran the Corp, women could advance up the ranks of the Corp, same as a man. The Corp had a proud history of great women officers, including several Generals. He told her about General Alisha Kane and her meteoric rise.

He then explained the Corp would invest more in a soldier who was willing to make a serious commitment in return. If she were willing to commit the time, they were willing to foot the bill for the special training required to move a soldier from good to great.

Focused on the goal of becoming a general, Cassie enlisted as a SkyRyder with a twenty-year commitment, which placed her on the fast track for training and promotions. She signed the contract, making her safe from her father, her unknown fiancé, and the countless lawyers her father would unleash to get her back.

She was headed to her new base two hundred miles away before her father’s car arrived on campus to retrieve her. She knew she’d never see her family again. But given the choice of the life her father offered to the opportunities of the Corp, she never wavered in her conviction she had made the right decision.


Like all recruits, she entered as a first-year cadet. Being a cadet was hard, but she expected it to be hard.

While she wasn’t treated noticeably different from her male counterparts, she did notice all the captains, lieutenants, and every other officer she saw were men. Looking around her, twenty percent of the cadets were women and some of them were damn good fliers. So where were they going? Why weren’t any becoming captains?

Her captain, Captain Dan Torres, told her to stop worrying about the other women and just focus on herself. She had talent, and if she applied herself, there was no limit to how far she might go. He’d tell her these words of encouragement when she lay in his cot at night. During the day, he bellowed and threatened her much the same as he did the other cadets in his squad.

She resented the dual relationship at times, and by the end of her year, she preferred the bellowing to the praises, because when she really started to show progress, their relationship turned downwind, and the sweet praises turned sour, more like belittlements disguised as praise. What her captain didn’t realize was that the more he bellowed, the harder she worked to prove him wrong.

The day she successfully completed her test on the glide maneuver was the happiest day of her life. It wasn’t just that she’d move to a better squad and captain. It wasn’t even that she had learned a maneuver that only a small percentage of fliers ever mastered, and it had taken her one month, not years, to do it. The reason this was the best day of her life was for the first time, she felt real hope. 

Cassie Brown knew without a doubt she could and would become a general of the SkyRyders’ Corp.

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About the Author

Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, skydive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet throughout her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Bringing Goanna to Life in Pets in Space® 4 by @j_c_hay #PetsinSpace #amreading

by J.C. Hay

Bringing Goanna to Life

Goanna are a relatively new introduction to the TriSystems books – they were referenced in a couple of places before now as an aside, but Heart of the Spider’s Web marks the first time I’ve spent any significant time with them. To understand Darcy and goanna in general I must dive into a bit of history.
The first thing to remember is that they have only a passing resemblance to the Terran goanna (a catch-all for several species of monitor lizard in Australia) – the original colonists from Earth found an indigenous reptile-analogue on Farhope when they landed and saddled it with the first name that came to mind (and over looked that these goanna had two pairs of eyes). Because they’re omnivorous, easy to keep, and come in a variety of bright colors, goanna flourished as domestic pets (especially given that cats and most dog breeds had limited genetic stock and are expensive both to purchase and own.)
The behavior of my hero Rayan Barr’s goanna, Darcy, is patterned after a green iguana I kept for many years. This iguana (and most of them, I’ve since learned) was often described as acting like a big, scaly cat, and I tried to carry that through to how Darcy responds to attention, especially massages. He’s also a big, insistent goof, and a bit of a food-hound, much to the delight of the ship’s crew. Bringing Darcy into this story was an important gesture for me, first to explore some decidedly non-terrestrial biology, but more importantly to pay homage to the other Herps I’ve been lucky enough to share my life with. While a certain green iguana may be gone, in many ways he lives on in this story.
This excerpt marks Darcy’s first appearance in Heart of the Spider’s Web, as the feisty goanna renews his acquaintance with our heroine, Sheri Tyler. Enjoy!

JC Hay writes about heroic hearts, both human, canine, and reptilian, in a fantastic future

Heart of the Spider’s Web - Excerpt

“Showtime, Dockrat. You ready?” Rayan Barr’s voice was as heavy as his physique, and his build surprised her every time she saw him. The gym facilities on the ship had to be amazing to keep his musculature so well defined despite the oft-fluctuating gravity of space travel. Where most people lost mass on extended trips, Barr never seemed to have that problem.
Sheri scoffed. “Couldn’t you find a shirt in your size?” If she was honest, the black pseudocotton stretched across his ample shoulders looked pretty fine. She wouldn’t say it out loud, though. The man had an ego to match his size.
“Just doing my part to make the ship visually appealing.” He grinned and shrugged in a way that hinted he knew exactly how tight his shirt was and how the gesture would translate.
She swallowed, rolling her eyes elaborately to show how unimpressive the entire display was despite her suddenly dry mouth. “Are you leading me somewhere? Or are you my new replacement door?”
“I don’t know. The latter might be fun.”
“I agree,” she said. “I like throwing knives at my door.”
A red-black shape moved across the floor, deceptively quick for its size. The goanna clambered up onto the reclamation unit and lapped at the few droplets clinging to the edge of the bowl. He puffed his chest up, proud of the accomplishment, and let out a shrill, trilling call.
Sheri responded in kind, mimicking the sound as well as she was able. The lizard shifted to focus on her as he had every time she’d seen him in Nobu Station’s dockyards. He blinked his four eyes in alternating pairs, head tilted to watch her as he trilled again.
She answered once more, and Barr strode into the room to retrieve the goanna. “That’s enough out of you, Darcy.” The meter and a half lizard climbed to his shoulder and pushed the top of his flat head into Barr’s cheek. He reached up and stroked the lizard’s throat gently.
“That’s a shame,” Sheri said. “You just ended the most intelligent conversation I’ve had since I arrived.”

Grab your copy of Pets in Space® 4 today! For a limited time, Pets in Space® 4 brings together today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors to help, a non-profit charity that helps our service veterans and first responders.

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